Reports of adverse events from Covid-19 treatments reach more than 500 cases, according to a point from the Medicines Agency (ANSM), which emphasizes in particular that the “cardiotoxicity signal” of hydroxychloroquine “continues to be confirmed”.
Hydroxychloroquine can cause neuropsychiatric disorders
The health agency also indicates that it has been informed by the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS) of the occurrence in patients with Covid-19, treated with hydroxychloroquine, of known neuropsychiatric disorders: six cases including three suicides and one attempt suicide.
These neuropsychiatric disorders appeared mainly during the first days of treatment, at high doses, including in patients with no psychiatric history.
The French agency, for its part, had no reports of serious neuropsychiatric disorders comparable to this date.
The ANSM recalls that the risk of neuropsychiatric disorders is already known with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine (psychosis, nervousness, insomnia, depression, etc.) and could be aggravated by the context linked to the pandemic and confinement. An evaluation on this subject is underway at European level.
562 cases of adverse reactions recorded as of May 12
Concerning the other undesirable effects monitored, the ANSM notes that “the number of cardiac undesirable effects of treatment with hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination has seen a less significant increase compared to the previous weeks”. It reports a fairly significant drop in its use both in town and in hospitals.
In all, “as of May 12, 562 cases of adverse effects have been reported in connection with an infection with Covid-19, including 78% of serious cases, concerning 64% of men,” details the ANSM, which had announced more than 300 cases on April 25 and a hundred on April 10.
Among these cases, 348 (62%) are attributed to the drugs used in the treatment of Covid-19, the other cases being divided between drugs that may have aggravated the disease (12%) and cases related to other drugs prescribed for these patients (25%).
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) accounts for the majority of cardiac adverse reactions, or 141 out of 159 cases. The cardiac effects of hydroxychloroquine account for 69% of its undesirable effects (hepatic, digestive …) listed against 44% for Kaletra (an antiretroviral combining lopinavir and ritonavir).
Hydroxychloroquine, a derivative of the antimalarial chloroquine, is known to cause electrical abnormalities in the functioning of the heart in some patients, visible on the EKG, which can lead to heart rhythm disturbances or even death.
The number of deaths all linked to hydroxychloroquine occurring in hospitals is always four. In view of these risks, the health agency recalls that these drugs, when used against Covid-19, must be used as a priority in the context of ongoing clinical trials.